As part of the restaurant's reopening celebration Oct. 22, O'Charley's recognized U.S. Army and Air Force veteran Leroy Spalding as a Hometown Hero.
Spalding enlisted in the Army in 1941 and joined the 38th Division of the Kentucky National Guard. He volunteered for overseas duty in 1943, and was deployed with the 45th Division as part of the Allied invasion of Sicily under General George S. Patton. In 1944, Spalding was sent to Germany and was serving as a Radio Operator when WWII came to an end in 1945. He is the last survivor of the 160th Field Artillery Battalion of the 45th Division.
After WWII, Spalding took flying courses and received his pilot’s license. He transitioned into the U.S. Air Force and was stationed at the 436th Troop Carrier Wing at Forth Knox in 1950. At the breakout of the Korean War, Spalding was deployed to Ramey Air Force Base in Puerto Rico, where he served as a Senior Teletype Operator and received and sent coded messages during the war. Spalding served in the Air Force a total of 18 months.
Spalding received a Purple Heart for wounds in combat. He is currently a charter member of Veterans of Foreign War Post 4075 in Frankfort, as well as a member of American Legion Post 7 and the Frankfort chapter of Disabled American Veterans. He is a past state commander of the Military Order of The Purple Heart.